As Christians, we spend weeks, even months, preparing for Christmas. In the United States, at least, we typically save up precious vacation time so that we can spent the Christmas season with far-flung friends and family. But the Lenten season, those 40 days (excluding Sundays) leading up to Easter, doesn't hold as much cultural or religious significance for most believers, as a recent ChristianityToday.com article pointed out.In fact, a recent U.S. District Court rulingupheld the right of workers in Indiana to observe Good Friday as a legal holiday partly because many in that state see Good Friday merely as "a Friday falling in the middle of the long vacationless spring—a day which employees should take off to rejuvenate themselves." The judge concluded that "for Indiana, the holiday has absolutely no religious significance."Sadly, this indictment holds true for many beyond the borders of the Hoosier State. And though we as Christians see Holy Week as more than just another Friday, most of us don't seem to take Easter as seriously as we do Christmas.The Web can't magically turn the Easter season into a religious observance on par with Christmas, but it is loaded with resources that can help any Christian gain a much deeper understanding of the 'reason for the season.'
The Lenten Season
In the West, the Lenten season traditionally begins 40 weekdays before Easter on Ash Wednesday. According to Britannica.com, Lent began early in the history of the church:It was the practice in Rome for penitents to begin their period of public penance on the first day of Lent. They were sprinkled with ashes, dressed in sackcloth, and obliged to remain apart until they were reconciled with the Christian community on Maundy Thursday, the ...1
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